On-street car parking charges hike in Guildford

October 2, 2013
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Parking fees in Guildford town centre streets are due to increase to catch up with higher charges in car parks.

Charges are to increase by 20p an hour, meaning town centre on-street spaces will now cost £1.60 an hour, with bays further from the centre at £1.20 an hour.

Guildford raked in £6,282,000 profit in parking charges in the 2010/11 financial year – the fourth highest in all English local authorities outside of London.

The income, which is used to fund transport and parking projects in the town, such as the park and ride, is bigger than all of the other Surrey authorities combined.

Members of Surrey County Council’s local committee for Guildford voted for the increase, although county councillor for Guildford Bill Barker accused officials of ‘beating people over the head’ with increasing prices.

“If we want to get more people to use the car parks, why don’t we try a different tactic and reduce the prices? That surely gives people an incentive and it becomes more attractive to park in town,” he ventured.

“If we want more people to come into town we should be making it more attractive to them.”

Estimates show that following an initial £1,000 in expenditure to change the pay and display machines, the increased charges could bring in as much as £90,000 additional income a year for the council.

Over the past three years income from on-street parking has stayed relatively stable, with £692,868 being brought in during 2010-11, £701,734 in 2011-12 and £687,677 in 2012-13.

Kevin McKee, parking services manager for Guildford Borough Council, said this was the first on-street price increase since 2008.

“Guildford’s car parks are the main access point for users of the town centre and it is our policy that these prices need to be lower to keep the workers out,” he said.

“If it’s too cheap then the town centre parking ends up filled up with workers and there won’t be spaces for shoppers.”

However, car park charges in Guildford were increased in January. It was estimated at that time that the increased income could exceed £270,000.

Mr McKee said the council balanced its prices in order to push motorists towards using the park and ride, then car parks, and then on-street parking only as a last resort.

“The on-street parking needs to be more expensive than the car parks, otherwise people are not encouraged to use them,” he said.

Guildford borough councillor James Palmer said: “This is about making it easier and better for people coming into town.

“If we were to cut prices in the car parks that would have the knock-on effect of reducing the amount of funds available for the park ride and that is not what anyone wants.”

Chaz Brooks, from the Surrey Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is always a concern with a price increase that you are making the town centre less inviting for people, whether in a car park or not.

“If someone is going to use the park and ride, or park on the street, that is what they will do.

“A price increase probably won’t change habits.”

Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/on-street-car-parking-charges-hike-6100503


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